All of us spend money every day. This doesn’t mean that you actually pull cash out of your wallet or swipe a card. We’re talking about purchases that ooze out of your bank account all the time. These are the costs you pay for services and routine payments. Sure, these payments come out all at once (either when you decide to pay or when your automatic draft comes due). But you use the services little by little throughout the month (air conditioning, car insurance). You can think of these payments as a constant trickle of use. Some of them actually are (you electricity bill, for example). The more you use these kinds of services the more you pay. Your regular payments for insurance don’t fluctuate, except when your service provider changes the price.
In both cases, you can be saving money. Because these payments have to be in your life, we don’t like to think about them a great deal. They’re made for convenience. Service providers often make it easy to automate these payments, so you don’t even have to consider when they’re drafted from your accounts. With careful budgeting, these payments can become seamless parts of your financial life. But this doesn’t mean that you’re paying the right amount of money for them.
It’s important not to get locked into payments that are too high, even if you can make them conveniently, even if you can afford them, even if paying for them is so convenient that you don’t even think about it. Just because you can afford a service doesn’t mean it’s truly affordable. It’s possible to find savings on these routine payments, but you’ve got to make it a priority. It’s often helpful to understand how and why these savings are findable. Here are a few reasons.
- Regulation and Deregulation. In some regions, regulatory changes transform industries overnight, but the average customer isn’t likely to hear about or understand what these changes mean for their payments. Sometimes these regulatory changes introduce a lot more competition into a regional industry, meaning that huge price savings are suddenly available. It’s important to occasionally check up on this stuff so that you can change to a provider who will charge less, if one is available.
- Loyalty Bonuses. If you’ve been with a provider for a long time, it’s definitely worth it to see if you can get some loyalty discounts. Oftentimes you just need to call to ask about discounts, because you’re considering going with a competitor. As it’s much easier to retain a customer than to replace one, they’ll usually give you a discount right then and there.
- New Startups. Some of these industries change slowly. Others experience disruption and quickly adjust. If you have been working with a service provider for years, it’s possible that new innovation has been introduced into the sector, providing a new model that provides the same service for a lot less.
There are often savings to be found for these sorts of payments. Take the time every year or so and you’ll see that these savings can be yours.
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